The Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever are two of the most popular dog breeds in America and most other parts of the world. They are fantastic companions whether you are a solo dog owner or adopting one as a family pet.
Labradors and Golden Retrievers are very similar in a lot of ways which includes both physical and temperament similarities. However, their distinction becomes increasingly prominent when comparing health issues than their physique, like size and weight.
In the sections below, we shall take a look at 12 of these differences. That way, you know what to expect from each and how to tell them apart.
12. Health Issue: Labradors Are Prone To Obesity Than Golden Retrievers
Labradors are more likely to develop obesity than Golden Retrievers. In fact, they are more likely to develop obesity than any other dog breed.
This is because of a specific gene mutation that causes some Labradors to lack all or a part of the POMC gene. This is the gene associated with control of appetite and satiety.
The absence or abnormality of this gene leaves affected Labradors with a huge appetite. Unless you are careful about what and how much you feed your Lab, they will very easily become overweight and eventually, obese.
11. Health Issue: Exercise-Induced Collapse In Labrador Retrievers
Exercise-induced collapse is common in athletic dog breeds like Golden Retrievers and Labradors. However, Labradors seem to be disproportionately more affected than Goldies.
The genetic condition causes weakness of the hind limbs of the Labrador after prolonged periods of exercise.
Labradors tend to be more active and focused on physical activities whether it is playtime or hunting. This, in addition to their genetic predisposition, makes them very vulnerable to collapse.
10. Coat Color
The coat color is where the differences between Golden Retrievers and Labradors are most pronounced. In fact the only similarity between these two dog breeds is that they both come in 3 standard colors.
Golden Retrievers come in three shades which include golden, light golden, and dark golden. However, there are other variations including the English Cream or White Goldie which are not recognized.
Labradors on the other hand can either be yellow, chocolate, or black.
9. Coat Length
The length of the coat is another trait that is very different between the Labrador and the Golden Retriever and it is impossible to mistake the two. The only similarities are that both coats have two layers and are resistant to water.
Labradors have a short coat with coarse fur. There is no feathering anywhere on the Labs body with the coat being uniformly short for most of these dogs.
Golden Retrievers have a longer coat with long, wavy and sleek-looking fur as well as feathering around the head, chest area, abdomen, and tail.
8. Coat Markings
Labrador Retriever dogs typically have uniformly colored coats with no markings anywhere on the dog’s body. However, a single, small patch of white fur in the middle of the chest area is permitted by American Kennel Club breed standards.
Technically speaking, Golden Retrievers do not have markings on their coats. However, their featherings may be significantly lighter than the rest of the coat especially with golden and light golden varieties of the Golden Retriever.
7. Maintenance Grooming
When it comes to grooming needs, both Labradors and Golden Retrievers are relatively high maintenance. This is because both because of their physical traits including coat characteristics and their very active lifestyles.
Golden Retrievers need to be washed once every 6 to 8 weeks in addition to basic grooming needs like dental hygiene, fortnightly nail clipping, and brushing.
Labradors should be washed at least once a month as they are more likely to stink.
6. Level Of Shedding
You may think that due to the long nature of the coat on a Golden Retriever that they shed more than Labradors that have shorter fur. This is simply not true.
Both Labradors and Golden Retrievers shed almost equally. They also both go through 2 seasons of very heavy shedding every year.
However, their brushing needs to minimize this shedding are different.
The longer coat on a Golden Retriever should be brushed every 4 days not only to minimize shedding but also to prevent tangling. With Labradors, you can get away with brushing them every 2 to 3 days or 4 times a week when they are shedding heavily.
There are very few differences between Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers when it comes to the personality traits.
Both of these dog breeds are popular for their desirable personality traits including the fact that they are kind, friendly, confident, even-tempered, and very trusting even of strangers.
Both Labradors and Golden Retrievers are also very smart. However, Goldies rank higher on Stanley Cohen’s list of the most intelligent dog breeds. Golden Retrievers rank 4th while Labradors are considered the 7th most intelligent dog breed.
4. Health Issue: Cancer Susceptibility
Cancer is common in both Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. In both of these breeds, it mostly occurs in old age and is a common cause of death.
However, Labradors are more likely to be affected by cancer than Goldies. There are actually specific types of cancer that are more likely to affect Labs including lymphomas and benign tumors like Hemangiosarcomas.
Golden Retrievers can also get these two types of cancer as well as osteosarcomas and mast cell tumors.
3. Health Issue: Heart Disease
Golden Retrievers are more likely to develop heart diseases than Labradors. One of the most common heart conditions that affects Goldies is Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis.
Without getting too technical this is a heart condition that is associated with constriction of the area around the valves in the aorta. This means that the heart has to pump extra hard to get blood through the bottleneck spot and out to the body tissues.
Size can be deceptive especially given the longer and fluffier nature of the Golden Retriever coat that makes them appear larger than Labradors. However, weight does not lie and this is what shows that Labradors truly are the larger of the two breeds.
For some perspective, Labrador males range from 65 to 80 lbs while females can grow as heavy as 55 to 70 lbs.
For contrast, Golden Retriever males have a weight average of 65 to 75 lbs with the females ranging from 55 to 65 lbs.
Golden Retrievers are smaller than Labradors if the breed standards are anything to go by. However, the differences in terms of the height is almost negligible.
Male Labradors measure between 22.5 to 24.5 inches in height while females range from 21.5 to 23.5 inches.
Male Golden Retrievers on the other hand measure 23 to 24 inches while the females measure 21.5 to 22.5 inches.
With these dimensions, both Golden Retrievers and Labradors can be considered medium to large dog breeds.
Are Golden Retrievers And Labradors The Same Breed? Golden Retrievers and Labradors are two completely separate dog breeds. The Golden Retriever is native to Europe where they were particularly popular in Scotland as retrievers for waterfowl. Labradors on the other hand can be traced back to Newfoundland which is the modern-day Newfoundland and Labrador province in Canada.
Are Labs Or Golden Retrievers More Expensive? Golden Retrievers are more expensive than Labrador Retrievers in most cases. Labradors cost between $800 and $1,200 while Golden Retriever prices range from $500 to $2,000. However, Golden retrievers can go for tens of thousands of dollars with those trained for special services like service dogs going for as much as $25,000.
Do Labs Get Along With Goldens? Labradors and Goldens typically get along very well. This is largely due to the fact that they are both very friendly dogs with calm and largely non-confrontational personalities. However, there is still the possibility of conflict especially between male Goldies and Labs that are introduced to the home at different times.